Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Let Me State the Obvious


Dinner last night: Rigatoni with Mushroom Sauce, Salad and Bread

Let me just start this long-overdue entry by stating the obvious. It snows in Indiana. Yes, its true and you may be shocked.

Much of northern Indiana is in the snowbelt (seen in this picture from NASA to the right) and is prone to lake-effect snows. The rest of the state is just in the rust belt, the bible belt, and the big belt because some many Hoosiers are grossly overweight. Because of the close proximity to the snowbelt, it seems intuitively obvious to me that we are "close enough" to expect that snow is part of our regular progression through the four-seasoned calendar year. But, apparently not so. For many Hoosiers, a snowy day could be considered a natural disaster.

Now, I have thought long and hard about this and inquired with friends, family and older and wiser colleagues. The fact is, it hasn't always been like this. Back in the day, snow was a normal part of life in Indiana. When I was a child, school was rarely canceled. Businesses certainly didn't close in a snow storm, and the stores tended to be business as usual. And, on the verge of turning 34, I can remember many winters in Indiana, and only a handful of those were without any snow at all. Most had at least two big storms, some even blizzards. Everyone else in the state seems to have forgotten about our previous experience with snow.

Here is how it works in 2006. A few days before the predicted snow fall, the buzz begins. "Getting a big storm" the teller at the bank says, "gonna ruin my weekend plans" the checkout girl at the grocery complains. "Have you seen the forecast lately, they are saying ten inches," says the UPS guy. Everyone is abuzz with information, facts, and opinions about this predicted storm. It consumes the community. People rush to the grocery store to stock up on crappy food, like bacon that doesn't need to be refrigerated (what is with that? If you eat that...whoever you are...please leave me a comment and tell me why). The shelves are empty and provisions are prepared.

I am all for preparation (uhhm...Katrina...hello? We were in Florida during Katrina, anyone who didn't prepare-chose not to-there was no escaping the local media attention the severity of that storm...unless you are Ray Nagin). Back to the snow--Schools send out notices to watch WTHR for closings or listen to WIBC for their announcement of a delay. People prepare. Then we wait. Soon it begins. The closings, that is-not the snow (at this point, it hasn't even started yet). Nonessential activities are cancelled. No class at PJ's Beauty College, Missionettes cancelled, no Little League meeting. Emails begin arriving rescheduling meetings for fear of the morning or evening rush hour commute in snow.

Then, the interruption in regularly scheduled programming to bring the latest predictions from the storm center, apparently located in the core of the earth. Six, twelve, ten, wait now maybe only three inches. The snow begins to fall. Plows prepare. More cancellations-schools, gyms, churches, daycares, and service agencies (sorry folks, the trip to Argosy Casino is off).

Everyone is encouraged to stay off the roads, unless they must travel. The snow is still falling. Some disregard the warnings and brave the elements. Do you know who they are? Most of them are one of three people. 1) the idiot who still buys American cars that are rear-wheel drive. Hmmm, I just cannot figure out why GM is loosing so much money. 2) the idiot who bought the world's largest SUV-but in 2-wheel drive instead of four-wheel drive. 3) the idiot who has four-wheel drive and thinks it makes them better drivers on ice. If you are one of those idiots...well, your just an idiot. Live broadcasts continue from the storm center.

This is pretty much how it wraps up in Indiana (especially during March storms)..."Well, the storm appears to be breaking up and the snow showers are tapering off and we expect to see a high tomorrow of 62 degrees." Looks like we will end up with a total around four inches. A far cry from the six to ten they predicted. But, wow! That sure was exciting...not.

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